Minnesota nonprofit welcomes final Afghan family into new home

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A program designed to help Afghan refugees is marking a key milestone.

After more than six months, the local nonprofit Alight welcomed their final family into a new home.

“Everybody just leaves sweaty, feel a little ‘ugh, ready for a shower,’ and then just so fulfilled,” said Teresa Devick, a volunteer.

Friday marks the 132nd home they’ve provided to a refugee family.

“This is the last house, and we’re really excited,” said Sam Munassar, Volunteer Manager for Alight.

Sam Munassar is the Volunteer Manager for Minnesota-based nonprofit Alight. Since January, he says they’ve provided 132 homes across the metro to Afghan refugees through the Welcome Home Program.

“People feel really desperate to finally just find their new home,” Munassar said.

Once moved in, federal funding is available for the first few months to help these families with rent. Volunteer Teresa Devick hopes this gives them a good start before getting settled with a job or school.

“I learned years ago there’s nothing better than helping somebody who can never give it back to you,” Devick said.

Even though the Welcome Home Program is wrapping up, a market in Brooklyn Park serves as a key resource for many Afghan families.

“It’s a decent bed, a decent couch, the things that makes a house a home,” said Kathleen Motzenbecker, Alight’s Warehouse Operations Manager.

Kathleen Motzenbecker runs the warehouse for Alight. She says there are hundreds more Afghan refugees that need their help.

“People who may have arrived in say November or December before Alight began this program, that’s our primary audience,” Motzenbecker said.

Following the Taliban takeover last year, families new to Minnesota can pick out what they like free of charge.

“What we’re trying to do is serve families with dignity, give them that sense of pride that comes with owning something nice, something new,” Motzenbecker said.

Thanks to a team effort that included plenty of community donors, a fresh start is possible.

“We’re just really amazed and pleased that the community has really stepped up and supported this project,” Munassar said.

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